Lesson 6 -- second quarter 2002
April 7, 2002
© Copyright 2002, Christian Light Publications
When cost is insignificant
Jesus said anyone who considers following Him should count the cost . . . first . . . carefully. Jesus said we should honestly and openly evaluate the costliness of the commitment He requires of those who would follow Him. From that we can accurately deduce that walking in His way costs much; being His disciple involves significant cost.
However, I find no indication that Jesus wants us to continue focusing on the cost once we have committed ourselves to paying it. I am unaware of any Scripture that would tell us Jesus intends that we continue going back to the cost-counting stage of our relationship with Him. I believe He wants us to progress beyond that. Why might that be?
The benefits far exceed the cost. Imagine that the total value of all your material assets is $10,987. That looks like a nice bunch of money to me. Would you part with all that money and all that stuff if in exchange you would get all of Boeing's profits for one day? I would say the answer is one of those no-brainer decisions we talk about sometimes. Of course you would go for such a trade. Oh, you might miss your special whatever for a while, but considering what you got in return, the cost would be insignificant. Well, in a faintly similar way, the cost we pay to follow Jesus pales when compared with the benefits of being His disciple. Maybe Paul thought of that when he wrote that "the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared" (Romans 8:18) with the coming glory. Remember that Paul suffered an awful lot for the sake of Christ and His kingdom. But he wasn't going to bother dwelling on that because he knew he was getting something immeasurably better. For Paul, no cost was too high to be a disciple of Jesus. Any cost and all cost he considered insignificant. How about you?
He wants to be our point of focus. When our focus continues on the cost of following Jesus, we can't very well focus on Him! He is a jealous Master; He wants our full love, attention, and dedication. Each time we direct our attention toward the cost of that relationship, we surely must provoke Him because we take from Him what is rightfully His. So let's not cheat Jesus by continuing to count the cost of following Him. Rather, let's choose to relegate the cost to that collection of insignificant stuff that we will not allow to interfere with and distract us from our focus on the Lord Jesus.
Romans 8:28 has securely anchored many a suffering, troubled Christian: "All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." Notice that this verse has nothing to do with feelings. Come to think of it, it doesn't have a thing to do with understanding either! Even when I feel like everything has collapsed, I know God will put it all together in such a way that it will cause good in my life. And though I surely do not understand how that could come about, I can still rest assured in that knowledge and faith.
Naturally, in times of great stress and distress, the tempter will relentlessly harass us and try to unsettle us. He will do what he can to persuade us that "all things" surely doesn't mean exactly everything and every circumstance. His "Hath God said?" must be met with Romans 8:28 and faith.
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